Atlantic City Race Course

Atlantic City Race Course

Blood-Horse Publications

Atlantic City to Usher in NJ Racing Season

New amenities for 2013 include an upgraded paddock-area experience.

The 2013 Thoroughbred racing season in New Jersey begins April 25 with the first of six days of all-turf racing at Atlantic City Race Course, which officials said has been upgraded a bit in response to requests from patrons.

Live racing at the southern New Jersey track will be held April 25-28 and April 30-May 1, with six races the first five days and seven on the final day. First post time is set for 3:30 p.m. EDT.

The dirt track at Atlantic City is no longer used, but the turf course is considered one of the best in the country.

"The turf course is doing magnificently," Atlantic City president Maureen Bugdon said April 9. "We're looking forward to the warmer weather that has finally arrived to continue, but we expect the course to be in fantastic shape."

From a facilities standpoint Atlantic City, which opened in 1946, still has the look and feel of the 1970s and 1980s. This year the paddock beer garden, popular decades ago, has been restored to cater to larger crowds.

Bugdon said there will be a full-service bar with paddock-view bar tops, picnic tables with umbrellas, and a new wagering pavilion. There also will be paddock-area restrooms for the first time.

On the first floor of the grandstand, concession stands have been upgraded, and there will be a trackside "hot dog cart," Bugdon said. Handicapping seminars for experienced players and novices will be offered, she said.

Full-card simulcasts are offered day and night during live racing and the rest of the year.

On the racing side, the condition book is similar to those of recent years, with all but a handful of races having starter allowance conditions. The lone stakes, the $50,000 Tony Gatto Dream Big, is scheduled for May 1.

The minimum purse of $15,000 is reserved for starter allowance races for maidens and non-winners of two races lifetime. Several maiden special weight events will go for $27,000 purses.

After the Atlantic City meet, which relies heavily on horses based at Parx Racing in Pennsylvania, New Jersey racing will move to Monmouth Park beginning May 11. Monmouth will race through Oct. 6, followed by 10 days of turf racing at New Meadowlands from Oct. 11-Nov. 2.

Atlantic City and Parx are owned by Greenwood Entertainment. Parx, which races year-round, will be dark April 24-May 2 to accommodate the Atlantic City meet.